May December Romance Movies

Posted on 10 Oct 00:00



1)  Harold and Maude (1971)

Harold and Maude is an American coming-of-age black comedy movie released in 1971. The movie is about the exploits of a 20-year-old man named Harold Chasen who is intrigued by death. Harold drifts away from the life his mother has prescribed for him and falls in love with a 79-year-old woman named Maude. Maude teaches Harold how ti live life to the fullest and that life is the most precious gift of all.


Harold Chasen (Bud Cort) is a young man is obsessed with death. He fakes suicides, attends funerals, and drives a hearse to annoy his socialite mother. His mother (Vivian Pickles) books him  appointments with a psychoanalyst (George Wood), who is later bewildered by the case and is unable to get Harold to talk about his real emotions.

Harold meets Maude (Ruth Gordon) at a stranger’s funeral. Maude is 79-years-old who like Harold, has a hobby of attending funerals. Harold is attracted to Maude due to her bright and carefree life that is in contrast with his morbidity. They form a bond and Maude shows Harold the pleasures of art and music. In addition, she teaches him how to play banjo and how to make the most out of his life on earth. On the other hand, Harold`s mother is determined to find him a wife. Harold scares them away during their appointed dates by pretending to commit gruesome acts such as self-immolation, self-mutilation, and seppuku. His mother tries to enlist him in the military, but he deters his recruiting officer who is also his uncle.

Harold and Maude are talking at home, he opens up and tells her about the motives of his fake suicides. He tells her that when he was in boarding school, he accidentally caused an explosion in his chemistry lab and the police thought he was dead. He went home to find his mother react to the news of his death with a ludicrous drama-like faint. Harold laughs and tells Maude that from that time he enjoys “being dead”

Harold and Maude become closer and their relationship blossoms into romance and Harold intends to marry Maude. His family, analyst, and priest are all disgusted. Maude turns 80 and Harold throws a party for her. While they are dancing, Maude tells Harold that she “could not have imagined a lovelier farewell” Confused, Harold questions her, and she tells him that she has taken an overdose of sleeping pills, therefore, intends to be dead by midnight. She declares that 80 is the perfect age to die. Harold rushes Maude to the hospital where she is treated, but she dies. Later, Harold’s car is seen falling off a cliff, but after the crash, he is seen at the top of the cliff holding his banjo. He looks at his wreckage, dances away, picking out on his banjo Cat Steven`s song “If you want to sing out, sing”

Director: Hal Ashby

Awards and Nominations

The movie has no awards but is ranked at number 45 on the American Film Institute. It was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry

2)  The Big Sleep (1946)

The Big Sheep is a 1946 film based on a story about a process of a criminal investigation instead of its results.


Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) is a private detective. He is summoned to the mansion of General Sternwood (Charles Waldron). The general wants to resolve the gambling debt his daughter Carmen (Martha Vickers) owes Arthur Gwynn Geiger. Just as Marlowe is leaving, Sternwood`s` older daughter who is also divorced ,Mrs. Vivian Rutledge (Lauren Bacall), stops him. Mrs. Vivian suspects that her father’s true motive in summoning the detective is to find his protégé Sean Regan, who disappeared a month ago.

The following morning, Vivian enters Marlowe`s` office with scandalous pictures of Carmen (Martha Vickers) that she received for blackmail, and demands for the negative. Marlowe goes to Geiger`s bookstore, he follows a car to Joe Brody`s (Louis Jean Heydt) apartment, Brody is a gambler who had previously blackmailed General Sternwood. Later, Marlowe finds Carmen in Geiger`s house, she insists that Brody killed Geiger. Meanwhile, they are interrupted by the owner of the house, Eddie Mars (John Ridgely), a small-time gangster.

Afterward, in Brody`s` apartment, Marlowe finds both Agnes (Sonia Darrin) and Vivian, and are interrupted by Carmen who wants her photos. Marlowe disarms her and sends both Vivian and Carmen home. Brody admits that he is behind the blackmailing, as he answers the door, he is shot. Marlowe apprehends Carol Lundgren (Thomas Rafferty), Geiger`s former driver, who believes Brody is swindling him. He also calls the police to arrest the killer.

Marlowe goes to Mar`s` Casino, he asks about Regan, who ran away with Mar`s wife. Mars evades Marlowe's questions and tells him that Vivian is running up gambling debts. Marlowe drives back with Vivian. At Marlowe`s home, he finds the flirtatious Carmen waiting for him she tries to seduce Marlowe, but she is thrown out of the apartment. The next day, Vivian tells Marlowe that Regan has been found in Mexico and that she wants to see him.

Mars has Marlowe beaten up to stop him from investigating further. Harry Jones who wants to marry Agnes finds Mars and conveys an offer from her to reveal the location of Mar`s wife for $200. Marlowe spots Canino, a gunman hired by, Mars who is there to find Agnes himself. Canino poisons Jones after he discloses Agnes`s location, although a false location.

Agnes arranges to meet Marlowe, she reveals she has seen Mona Mars in a town called Realito, but Marlowe when gets there he is attacked by Canino. He wakes to find himself tied up while Mona is watching over him. Vivian frees Marlowe, and he gets a gun and shots Canino. Canino dies and Marlowe and Vivian drive back together. Mars arrives with four men set to ambush them. Mars enters and Marlowe reveals that he has discerned the truth. Mars has been blackmailing Vivian, and that her sister Carmen had killed Regan. Mars is forced outside and he is shot by his own men. Marlowe calls the police and tells them that Mars killed Regan and convinces Vivian that her sister needs psychiatric care.

Director: Howard Hawks

Trivia:  Philip Marlowe was named the 32nd greatest hero in the film.

3)   Lolita (1962)

Lolita is a comedy-drama cast in 1962. It is about a middle-aged literature lecturer who becomes sexually obsessed with a young adolescent girl.


Clare Quilty (Peter Sellers) is drunk and incoherent and he is apparently shot to death. The shot is fired from in front of a portrait painting of a young woman passing through it. Clare is shot by Humbert (James Mason) a middle-aged British professor of French literature.

Four years earlier, Humbert arrives at Ramsdale, New Hampshire, where he intends to spend the summer before his professorship begins at Beardsley College, Ohio. As he looks for a room to rent, Charlotte Haze (Shelley Winters), a cloying, sexually frustrated widow, invites him to stay in her house. He declines, but when he sees Charlotte`s daughter, Dolores (Sue Lyon), he affectionately calls her “Lolita”, meaning soda-pop drinking, gum-snapping flirtatious teenager, because he is infatuated with her.

Due to Lolita, Humbert accepts Charlotte`s offer and accepts the invitation to live in the Haze household. Charlotte wants to monopolize all of Humbert’s time so she plans to send Lolita to an all-girls sleep-away camp for the summer. The Hazes depart for the camp, the maid gives Humbert a letter from Charlotte that confesses her love for him and demands that he vacate at once unless he feels the same way. The letter also states that if Charlotte returns to the house and find Humbert there, he must reciprocate the love and marry her. Humbert roars with laughter as he reads the letter and marries Charlotte.

But, things begin to turn sour. Humbert becomes more withdrawn while Charlotte grows increasingly unfulfilled and upset. Charlotta discovers Humbert has affection for Lolita and characterizes her as “the Haze woman, the cow, the obnoxious mam, the brainless baba”. Charlotte becomes furious and runs outside where she is hit by a car and she dies.

Humbert goes to pick Lolita who does not know her mother is dead. They spend the night in a hotel that is handling an overflow influx of police officers attending a convention. Hubert and Lolita enter into a sexual relationship, and they commence an odyssey across the United States, traveling from hotel to motel, but in public, they pretent to be father and daughter. After several days, Humbert tells Lolita that her mother is dead. Grief-stricken, she stays with Humbert.

After Humbert reports to his position at Beardsley College, he enrolls in Lolita in high school there. However, people begin to question their relationship between him and his over-protected daughter.  Humbert is worried about her involvement with the school play and male classmates. One night, Dr. Zempf is sitting in Humbert’s dark living room. He speaks with a thick German accent and claims to be from Lolita`s school. He has come to discuss Lolita’s knowledge of “the facts of life”. He asks Humbert to allow Lolita to participate in the school play, of which she has been selected to play the leading role.

One day Humbert learns that Lolita is lying about how she is spending her Saturday afternoons when he visits a performance of the play since she claims to be at the piano practice. They get into a row and Humbert leaves Beardsley College and takes Lolita on the road again. While on the road, Humbert realizes that they are being followed by a mysterious car. Lolita becomes sick and he takes her to the hospital, but when he returns to pick her up, he finds her gone. The nurse informs him that she left with another man who she claims is her uncle. Some years later, Humbert receives a letter from Mrs. Richard T. Schiller, Lolita`s married name. She says she is now married to Dick and she is pregnant, but desperately needs money. She tells him that Clare Quilty kidnapped her, the man who was following them. She states that Quilty disguised himself as Dr. Zempf. Humbert later begs Lolita to leave her husband and live with him, but she declines. Humbert gives her money and leaves to kill Quilty in his mansion where the first scen of the movie began.  Later Humbert dies of coronary thrombosis while awaiting trial for Quilty`s murder.

Director: Stanley Kubrick

4)   Last Tango in Paris (1972)

Last Tango is an erotic drama film cast in 1972. It is a story about a widowed American who has a sexual relationship with a young Parisian woman.


Paul (Marlon Brando) is a middle-aged American hotel owner who is mourning his wife, Rosa, after she commits suicide. Paul meets a young, but an engaged, Parisian woman named Jeanne (Maria Schneider) at an apartment that they are both interested in buying. They begin an anonymous sexual relationship after Paul takes the apartment. The affair continues until one day, Jeanne arrives at the apartment to find Paul has packed and left without a warning.

They later meet on the street and Paul wants to renew the relationship. He tells Jeanne about his wife`s` tragedy as they walk into a tango bar. Paul tells Jeanne about himself, but Jeanne tells him she does not want to see him again. Paul chases Jeanne through the streets of Paris back to her apartment where he tells her that he loves her and wants to know her name.

Jeanne tells Paul her name and shoots him. Paul staggers out onto the balcony wounded and collapses and dies. Jeanne dazed, mutters to herself that Paul is a stranger who tried to rape her as she prepares herself for police questioning.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci

5)   As Good As It Gets (1997)

As good as it gets is an American Romantic comedy movie cast in 1997.


Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) is a novelist in New York City. He has an obsessive-compulsory disorder that prevents him from stepping on sidewalk cracks and that makes him eat breakfast at the same table in the same restaurant every day. He becomes interested in Carol Connelly (Helen Hunt), a waitress who is the only waitress who can tolerate his behavior.

Simon Bishop (Greg Kinnear), a gay artist and Melvin`s `neighbor, is assaulted and almost killed during a robbery. Frank Sachs (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is intimidated by Melvin to care for Simon`s dog as Simon is hospitalized. Melvin becomes emotionally attached to the dog. Melvin is unable to return the dog after Simon (Greg Kinnear) returns from the hospital, in addition, Carol leaves to go and work closer to her home to look after her sick son Spence (Jesse James). Melvin is not able to adjust to another waitress, therefore, he arranges to pay for Spencer`s medical expenses as long as Carol agrees to return to work.

Simon is almost bankrupt due to medical bills. Frank advises him to ask his parents in Baltimore for money. Melvin takes him to his parents and they use Frank’s car. Melvin invites Carol for the trip and a relationship develops among the three.

In Baltimore, Carol persuades Melvin to take her out for dinner, during dinner Melvin inadvertently insults Carol and she threatens to leave. Simon begins to sketch Carol`s semi-nude in his hotel room. He rekindles his creativity as he feels the desire to paint. Simon reconnects with his parents and able to tell them that he will be fine.

They return to New York, where surprisingly, Melvin has set up a room in his own home for Simon.  Carol tells Melvin that she does not want him in her life, but she later regrets how she dismissed Melvin, and apologizes. Melvin is despondent over losing Carol.However, and Simon persuades Melvin to go to Carol and declare his love for her. Later, Melvin visits Carol and tries to re-establish a relationship. Finally, Melvin and Carol walk hand in hand into the night as a nearby pastry shop opens, and together they decide to enter the shop, and as they near the shop, Melvin steps on a crack in the pavement and does not seem to mind.

Director: James L. Brooks

Awards and Nominations

Nicholson and Hunt won the Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress respectively. It was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar and won Best Picture-Music or Comedy at the Golden Globes.

6)  Man in the Attic (1995)

The Man in the Attic is a Romantic-Comedy Movie cast in 1995. It is based on a true story about a teen who is, for years, hidden in the attic by his lover.


Krista Heldmann (Anne Archer) is a bored housewife to a factory owner, Joe Heldmann (Len Cariou). Her son dies, so she seeks comfort by spending time with young Edward Broder (Neil Patrick Harris) a teenager who is employed at her husband’s factory. Their relationship becomes serious and they become secret lovers. Krista tries to hide the relationship from her husband, and hides Broder in her attic. The affair lasts for more than 20 years, but Krista eventually becomes bored and lacks the devotion to her now enslaved and obsessed lover. Soon the situation comes to a head and one night Edward and Joe Heldman have a violent confrontation.

Director: Graeme Campbell

Awards and Nominations

The movie was nominated for Best Photography, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Music Score.

7)  Love in the Afternoon (1957)

Love in the afternoon is an American romantic comedy cast in 1957. The story is about a relationship between an older flirtatious business magnate and a young naïve daughter of a private detective. The businessman seduces the girl with no intention of continuing the relationship, but they meet again in Paris and the girl pretends to have a long list of lovers. The man becomes jealous prompting him to admit his real feelings for the girl


Ariane Chavasse (Audrey Hepburn) eavesdrops on a conversation between his father, Claude Chavasse (Maurice Chevalier) a widowed private detective who specializes in tracking down unfaithful husbands and wives. Monsieur X (John McGiver) has hired him to track his wife. Claude gives him proof about his wife’s daily trysts with an American business magnate Frank Flanagan (Gary Cooper). Monsieur announces he will shoot Flanagan. Claude is calm, but regrets the loss of business since Flanagan is a well-known international playboy with strings of affairs. Ariane cannot reach Flanagan on the phone, so, she decides to warn him herself.

When Monsieur X breaks into Flanagan`s hotel, he finds him with Ariane, not his wife. On the other hand, Flanagan is intrigued by the mysterious girl who refuses to give him even her name, therefore, he resorts to calling her “thin girl”. She soon falls in love with the old man.

Ariane`s father tries unsuccessfully to protect her from knowing about the tawdry-surveillance details in his files. After a year, Flanagan returns to Paris, Ariane has been keeping track of his womanizing exploits through the news media. They meet again when she puts herself in his path in the lobby, and they start seeing each other. He questions her, and she makes a long list of imaginary lovers based on her father’s file and Flanagan is number 20. Flanagan later encounters an apologetic Monsieur X, and he recommends Claude to him. Therefore, Flanagan hires Ariane`s own father to investigate.

Soon, Claude realizes the mystery woman is his daughter, hence, he informs his client that his daughter fabricated her love story. Claude tells Flanagan that Ariane is a small fish that he should throwback since she is serious and he wants to avoid serious relationships.

Later, Ariane enters Flanagan’s hotel suite only to find him packing hurriedly to leave Pairs. He pretends to be going to meet his former lovers in Cannes. 

They both they both pretend to not care deeply for each other, although Ariane sheds a few tears which she blames on the soot. The train departs, Ariane runs along with the platform as Flanagan stands in the door of the coach. Flanagan changes his mind, he sweeps her up onto the coach, and before they kiss, he calls her by her name, Ariane.

Director: Billy Wilder

Awards and Nominations

Note:  Wilder was nominated for Outstanding Directing.


Young people frequently are fall in love with individuals’ older than they are. These are often not easy relationships even though, a strong and passionate bond can develop. These movies give insight into ways that can help such a relationships work.

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